This Blog Has Moved — To Happy-Writer.com!

Hey, everybody! You might’ve noticed posts have stagnated on this blog. I had a really rough spring/summer and found myself creatively … pooped out, for lack of a more polite term. Lately, though, I’ve been wanting to get back on the blogging horse, only, I’ve decided I want a do-over. A new blog, with its own domain name, focused more on writing. So, I’ve launched Happy Writer!

I want Happy Writer to be a place where writers can come together and talk about writing. Discuss worldbuilding, story structure, fleshing out characters; to get motivation and inspiration; to share tools for productivity and opportunities for publication. I just want a place to word vomit about writing, and I really like the idea of starting fresh, with my own fancy domain. (MOSTLY BECAUSE, when you have your own domain, it’s a whole lot easier to do link-ups and giveaways and things. The coding just works better, as silly as that is.)

That actually brings me to my next point: while I hope you’ll all follow me over to Happy Writer, subscribe to the new blog, and just generally enjoy what I’m trying to do over there, I really hope the writers among you consider participating in this weekly blog link up for writers that I’m hosting: WIP Wednesday. If you like gushing about your writing, and want excuses to post snippets of your WIPs and answering fun prompts about your work, you should totally check this out. I’ve got a million themes planned, and if lots of people participate, we can cultivate a really cool community of writers all supporting and encouraging each other. Please, please, please think about joining in!!

Okay, that’s it. That’s all. The fat lady has taken her final bow. Anymore blogging I do will be over yonder on Happy Writer. I hope you’ll consider coming along!

The April 2016 24 Hour Readathon!

DEWEYs.pngToday’s the day! Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon starts in just a couple of minutes. I’m going to primarily be posting on my Twitter and Instagram, so if you thirst for hourly updates of my book devouring — follow me over there! This blog post will mostly house mini-challenges, if I participate in them, and a few overall updates at crucial hours.

I hope everybody’s got their water, their snacks, and their book stacks ready to go! Have a great readathon, you guys. 🙂

Continue reading “The April 2016 24 Hour Readathon!”

8 Books You Might Consider Devouring During the 24 Hour Readathon

As I plan out my irrationally tall stack of books to be gobbled during this Saturday’s Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, it got me thinking about some of the books I enjoyed the most during past ‘thons — See, it can be surprisingly hard to pick the right books for a 24 hour binge reading session. You want something relatively fast-paced and high interest, especially when it’s late at night and sleep is calling. You don’t want to get bogged down with a slog of a book — sure, books with long paragraphs of dense, lyrical prose can be fun and fulfilling to read, but are they the best for a readathon? Nah. You want books that keep you turning pages. Books that grab you and don’t let go. Books that are meant to be devoured in a single sitting.

So, here are some of my suggestions for books you won’t want to put down — first are books I’ve consumed during past readathons, followed by couple books I remember were so addictive that I plowed through them in a single sitting.

My Favorite Books I’ve Read During the 24 Hour Readathon

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The Uncommon Reader, by Alan Bennett

1. The Uncommon Reader, by Alan Bennett.

This is a charming little thimble of a book — at 124 pages long, it shouldn’t take you more than two hours to chew up, and those will be two hours spent delighting in the world of addictive literature. The whole idea is that the Queen of England becomes a patron of a traveling mobile library that parks outside of the palace, and as she discovers new authors and new genres and so many books to read she begins to neglect her other Queen-ly duties.

Any book that celebrates books and reading is perfect for a readathon. It’s a fun, funny little story that’ll make you want to snatch all the books off your shelves and hug them close.

 

2. Any Book By Brian Selznick.

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The Marvels, by Brian Selznick

While I didn’t read The Invention of Hugo Cabret or Wonderstruck during 24 Hour Readathons, I did devour The Marvels during last October’s ‘thon — what a ridiculously surreal experience it is to be sitting outside at 9 in the morning sobbing into a book.

What makes Selznick’s books perfect for readathons? Not only are the stories beautiful and powerful, but the books are told primarily through pencil illustrations — much like graphic novels with bursts of prose between the pictures. So, these tomes might look daunting, but they can usually be read in just a couple hours — great for a readathon. And you’ll be getting a heartfelt story to boot.

morehappy3. More Happy Than Not, by Adam Silvera

This is another book I read during last October’s readathon. A sci-fi LGBT mashup of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Memento, More Than This tells the story of a boy living in a slummy, intolerant neighborhood, who develops feelings for another boy — and decides the best thing he could do is a risky medical procedure to erase his unwanted feelings right out of his brain. The story is fast-paced, addictive, and suspenseful. This book kept me wide awake during the later hours of the readathon. (Especially because I paired it with The Marvels and Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, so I was having a delightfully LGBT-themed day.)

april_matilda4. Matilda, Roald Dahl

Children’s books are a great idea for a readathon! They’re usually very short, easy to read, high interest (though they sometimes pack a wallop of emotional trauma that leaves you thinking, I read this when I was ten?) Matilda isn’t a sad story, though — it’s a delightfully nasty and comedic tale of a clever young girl who’s unchallenged mental acuity channels itself into actual powers. At its heart, it’s a love story to the bookworm, and just like The Uncommon Reader, it’s that celebration of books, reading, and learning that make it a cozy pick for a reading binge.

Now that we’ve exhausted the best books I’ve read during actual readathons, here’s a couple books I binged in a single sitting that are worth keeping in mind when you’re planning your stacks…

 

Books I’ve Devoured In Single Sittings

bookcover015. We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson

This creepy, elegantly written Shirley Jackson story is under 150 pages, perfect to read in a single sitting. It’s about two sisters who live in almost total isolation on the fringe of a city that fears them, because everyone in town thinks the eldest sister is responsible for the terrible poisoning that killed their entire family.

Jackson is a brilliant writer. Every sentence of Castle feels purposeful, not a word wasted or set out of place. Check out the first paragraph:

“My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenent, andAmanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.”

If you want something subtly chilling that’s going to be a quick, suspenseful read, you can’t go wrong here.

knifecover6. The Chaos Walking Trilogy, by Patrick Ness

I’m pretty sure I didn’t blink the first time I read The Knife of Never Letting GoPatrick Ness is a great writer, and he really created something different and original. Here’s the GoodReads description:

“Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.”

A riveting story, and so suspenseful with so many surprises it’s sure to keep you awake. The whole trilogy really dives into themes like the cost of war, sexism, terrorism, and even has LGBT representation. A high recommendation from me.

birdbox7. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

So, it’s the middle of the night, maybe Hour 18 or 20, it’s past midnight and you’re struggling to keep your eyes open? How about scaring the pants off yourself? Think that’ll keep you awake???

Like I said in my review of Bird Box, I read this book in a single sitting one gloomy, overcast morning while sitting on my front porch — and jumping at every small noise. The story is simple: something’s happening outside, across the world, and whoever sees it goes nuts. Brutally maims and murders, ends up killing themselves. So people stop looking outside. They blind themselves, board up the windows, they don’t go outside without keeping their eyes firmly shut. How do you live in a world that’s fallen apart like this? The main character lives in an abandoned house with her two daughters, and they’re running out of food and supplies. The only solution is to go out into the world and try to forge her way down a nearby river — only, she’s going to have to do this while making sure neither she nor her small children ever once open their eyes.

This book is so scary. If you like scaring yourself and want a book you won’t be able to close, definitely consider this for the readathon.

FANGIRL_CoverDec20128. And finally, Any Book By Rainbow Rowell 

If you’ve ever read a Rainbow Rowell book, you already know what I mean. Her writing is inherently readable — and it’s also, at its core, positive. Happy. There’s always something to smile about. Like if Kelly Kapoor from The Office started writing novels about “basically anything that is awesome.” My favorites of Rowell’s are Fangirl and Attachments, the first about a fanfic writing introverted freshman trying to navigate her first year of college, the latter about an I.T. security guy whose job is to monitor employee emails — and develops a crush on one of the employee’s whose emails keep getting flagged as inappropriate.

Basically, Rowell’s books are addictive, they’re fast-paced, and they’re fun. That’s the point of a readathon, right? To have FUN? You can’t go wrong here.

So, there you have it! Some of my picks for books to pile onto your readathon plates. Whatever you choose to read on Saturday, I hope you love it. Here’s a pic of the stack I’ve selected for this round:

My tentative and ambitious #readathon stack for @deweysreadathon! 📚 #deweys #24hourreadathon #amreading #books

A post shared by Christina (@yellowhairedrobot) on

Have you ever participated in Dewey’s readathon? What was your favorite book you ever read? Or, what was the last book so un-put-down-able you gobbled it up in a single sitting? I’m ravenous over here people, leave a comment, tell me your favorite books for binge-reading!

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks — My Only New Year’s Resolution

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As evidenced in my last post, I received a metric ton of books for Christmas this year, and, as evidenced in my #Shelfiehop picspam, I wasn’t exactly lacking reading material to begin with. (I’m a book hoarder, I admit it.) So, when I saw the #ReadMyDamnOwnBooks challenge/resolution over at Estella’s Revenge, it sounded like the perfect opportunity to get my TBR under control. Because it’s currently out of control. Unquestionably.

I went through my shelves and tried to count my number of unread books, but once I’d hit triple digits, I had to stop. Clearly, I collect books faster than I read them. The whole idea of the Read My Own Damn Books resolution is to place as feasible a book-buying ban on yourself as possible and, for 2016, read only what’s always sitting on your shelves. Because we all have those books which have been languishing on our bookcases for years, ignored, unloved, wondering why they’ve been consistently passed over for some shiny new release. 😦 Think of those books! Think of their hurt little book-y feelings!

(And now think of over a hundred of these books all gathered together on your shelves, grumbling to each other, watching you ignore them, plotting against you, and forming some kind of revolt — this is how you get yourself buried under a bookcase, I’m telling you.)

So, because all challenges need a little structure, here are the rules/goals I’m setting myself:

  • Read only from my shelves. There’s no set order, I can cherry-pick, use the TBR jar, whatever. But, if I’m stumped for a new read, I have to go alphabetically from the beginning, hit up that top shelf and pick the first unread book I find.
  • I’d love to set a limit of buying just ONE book a month, or even making a list of all the books I want and saving them for my birthday and Christmas wish lists. We’re gonna have to see how realistic that is, though. I have a notorious lack of self control when it comes to “OOH, BOOK, SHINY, MUST BUY, GRABBY HANDS.” We’re going to try for 1 a month, though. Fingers crossed.
  • Another big goal: cull my shelves of anything I either can’t get into the first time or am never going to reread. My collection is already bursting at the seams and I have no room for another bookcase, so if a book isn’t holding my attention by page 100 (though you can usually tell by page 20 with some duds), or I am so uninterested in the description I can’t bring myself to open the dang thing (this happens too often when you buy books during a flush of interest in a particular genre or theme, and then the phase passes and you’ve still got all these unread books based on some interest you no longer have.) I HAVE to put it in the charity pile, or, if it’s teen/YA, give it to my sister for her classroom library. Get these things out of my house!

Okay, there you have it. My main goal for 2016. Get my TBR under control and cull my collection to something manageable — and SHELVE-ABLE.

I’ve got some great books to look forward to. Just glancing at my book closet now, I see The Handmaid’s Tale, The Invisible Man, The Once and Future King, P.G. Wodehouse, Oscar Wilde — it’s gonna be a year of classics, I think. I’m going to set my GoodReads goal at 52, like I always do (aiming for a book a week), but around June or July I’ll readjust depending on how long some of the books are taking. (For example, I’d love to read The Count of Monte Cristo, but I highly doubt I’m getting through that in a single week…)

If you’d like to join the Read My Own Damn Books pledge, check out the original post here. And tell me in the comments, what are your reading goals for the new year? Are you going to place yourself under a book-buying ban, or do you, unlike me, actually have a hold on your TBR (and self-control)? What book are you MOST looking forward to reading in 2016?

Because I’m Nosy And Love Looking At Books — The ShelfieHop!

Crystal from Bookiemoji and Kristen from My Friends Are Fiction have put together The Shelfie Hop — a chance for everyone to share pictures of their books! I shared a room tour a while back and nothing has intrinsically changed, but I definitely have tons of new books that have required innumerable rearrangements of my shelves, so here it goes: the latest, not last, arrangement of my shelves (subject to change the moment I get a new book haul and have to move everything all over again.)

I have a bookcase across from my bed which is gorgeous to wake up to everyday.

Continue reading “Because I’m Nosy And Love Looking At Books — The ShelfieHop!”